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Friday Daily Puck: Better Than Great

Andrew Fiorentino

Andrew Fiorentino

A degenerate fantasy player since the age of 13.

Around the Rink

In Tuesday's Daily Puck, I recommended Tyler Myers and called him a "classic change-of-scenery guy" – and, well, his scenery hasn't changed, but he has. The 23-yer-old blueliner has suddenly been flying lately, with Thursday night's two points giving him six in his last four games, giving his fantasy owners (not to mention the Sabres) renewed faith in his abilities.

Myers has been a perpetual disappointment for the last three years, but don't forget the 11 goals and 48 points he put up in his rookie year, nor the fact that he's poised to reach double-digit goals even in this underwhelming campaign. Consider this a second recommendation for a pickup.

In other notable-performance news: Ladies and gentlemen, Tyler Seguin. The former second overall pick is having a huge year, and it's been marked by several performances like Thursday's – a hat trick with two assists to boot that led Dallas to a romp over Vancouver. Besides the Thursday explosion, Seguin has put up a trio of four-point games and another five-point game (in which he scored four goals!) besides. It seems like every time his scoring hits a little lull for a few games, Seguin blows up like this, and that's just great for his fantasy owners.

Finally, when Wayne Gretzky was 18, he had a 12-game point streak – the best run of anyone that age in NHL history. Well, it was the best run – until 18-year-old Nathan MacKinnon's streak reached 13 with an assist on Andre Benoit's overtime winner Thursday night. Give the kid a plaque to put up on his wall – not a lot of guys can say they broke one of The Great One's records. That said, before we get too crazy, let's not forget that Gretzky put up 137 points in his rookie year; MacKinnon's sitting on 51.

Projected Goalie Starters (all times Eastern)

For updates on the projected goalies later in the day, check our Projected Goalies Grid.

Rangers (Henrik Lundqvist) at Hurricanes (Anton Khudobin), 7:00
Devils (Cory Schneider) at Red Wings (Jonas Gustavsson), 7:30
Sabres (Michal Neuvirth) at Panthers (Roberto Luongo), 7:30
Islanders (Evgeni Nabokov) at Avalanche (Reto Berra), 9:00
Penguins (Marc-Andre Fleury) at Ducks (Jonas Hiller), 10:00

Injury News for Teams Playing Tuesday

New York Rangers
Mats Zuccarello, RW (hand) – A game-time call Friday

Carolina Hurricanes
Justin Faulk, D (upper body) – Expected out two or three more games

Detroit Red Wings
Dan Cleary, RW (knee) – Out at least a week
Stephen Weiss, C (sports hernia) – Having further tests due to a setback
Pavel Datsyuk, C (knee) – Out the next three weeks
Henrik Zetterberg, LW (back) – Still could play this season
Jakub Kindl, D (lower body) – Healthy, but still scratched Tuesday and Thursday
Mikael Samuelsson, RW (shoulder) – On IR indefinitely and could be waived even when healthy
Darren Helm, C (upper body) – Having headaches; will be held out a few days
Alexey Marchenko, D (ankle) – Out for the year

Buffalo Sabres
Chris Stewart, RW (ankle) – Doubtful for Friday
Zemgus Girgensons, C (lower body) – Also doubtful for Friday

Florida Panthers
Aleksander Barkov, C (knee) – Doesn't need surgery, but out indefinitely
Tomas Kopecky, RW (concussion) – Out indefinitely with concussion

New York Islanders
John Tavares, C (knee) – No need for surgery
Eric Boulton, LW (hand) – Apparently broke his hand in a fight Tuesday

Calgary Flames
Jiri Hudler, RW (upper body) – Left Wednesday's game
Matt Stajan, C (personal) – Didn't go Wednesday
Curtis Glencross, LW (ankle) – Not considered close to returning
Karri Ramo, G (knee) – Skated on his own Wednesday
Dennis Wideman, D (upper body) – Seems unlikely to go Friday
David Jones, RW (upper body) – Out the next 3-4 weeks
T.J. Galiardi, LW (undisclosed) – Didn't go Wednesday
Kevin Westgarth, RW (head) – Headed back to Calgary for concussion protocol

Pittsburgh Penguins
Kris Letang, D (illness) – Went on IR Wednesday
Chris Conner, RW (wrist) – Back at practice Wednesday
Tomas Vokoun, G (pelvis) – Skating with the team, but still not ready
Pascal Dupuis, RW (knee) – Out 6-8 months
Paul Martin, D (hand) – Placed on IR Wednesday
Zach Sill, RW (undisclosed) – Was injured in AHL; out since
Brian Dumoulin, D (leg) – Hasn't played since being injured in AHL at end of January
Beau Bennett, RW (wrist) – Expected out another 2-3 weeks… ish

Anaheim Ducks
Mathieu Perreault, C – Eligible to return from IR Friday, but no indications
Teemu Selanne, RW (illness) – Didn't play Wednesday, but probably good for Friday

Hot

Jonathan Quick, G, LA – Quick and the Kings rolled over Winnipeg on Thursday – the fifth consecutive win for Quick, who's allowed one or zero goals (four in total) over that five-game span. Prior to this streak – which started the game before the Olympics – Quick had dropped eight of nine games, so this is quite a welcome run for his fantasy owners. We all know that he has the upside to be one of the NHL's best, but he certainly wasn't that last year, and this year – though better – has been injury-shortened and underwhelming at times. This isn't one of those times.

Jamie Benn, RW, DAL – Seems like Benn's been a regular fixture in this section, which is no surprise, considering his 59 points in 63 games this year. He's been particularly hot since the resumption of play after the Olympics, as he apparently came back from Team Canada's gold-medal run with new inspiration. In five games since the break, Benn has ripped off two goals, six assists and a plus-6 rating. And, of course, he plays alongside the similarly awesome Tyler Seguin.

Ryan O'Reilly, LW, COL – Two assists on Thursday pushed O'Reilly's post-Olympic point streak to five games (nine points!) and his season total to 50 for the second time in his career. O'Reilly's already blown away his career-high goal total, with 24 this year, and he's poised to fly right by the 55 points he posted in 2011-12. Despite this, the 23-year-old remains a somewhat underrated fantasy commodity and could again provide nice draft value next year.

Cold

Evgeni Nabokov, G, NYI – Thursday's loss was the fourth in five games for Nabokov, who hasn't posted a save mark over. 900 in any of those contests. The Isles' goaltending situation remains an unmitigated disaster, and the 38-year-old Nabby looks like he's about ready to slip away into the peace of retirement.

Teemu Selanne, RW, ANA – Yep, this is the Old Man Edition of the Cold section. Selanne was scratched with the flu in the Ducks' most recent game Wednesday, saving the 43-year-old from yet another unimpactful game. He has only 20 points in 49 contests this year, hasn't scored a goal since Jan. 15, and has all of three assists in his last 11 games. Brutal.

Cody Franson, D, TOR – Alright, one younger guy. Franson's been on an awful stretch lately, scoreless in his last seven games dating back to Feb. 4, and he's not helping in the other categories, going minus-2 with just two PIM in that span. Where Franson was playing well over 21 minutes a game earlier this year, he hasn't cleared 20 in any of the games during this slump, and he's played just 16-odd minutes in each of the last two. Here's a guy who looks like he needs a change of scenery.

Recommended Pickup
Anders Lee, LW, NYI – With seven career NHL games under his belt, Lee's got seven points, including Thursday night's goal in Edmonton. Five of those games have come this season, and they've all been since the Olympic break. Lee's role is increasing, too, as he skated 3:47 on the power play Thursday and more than 15 minutes overall. A fine performer in college at Notre Dame and in the AHL this season (22 goals, 41 points, 83 PIM in 54 games), Lee's upside merits attention from fantasy owners down the stretch.

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